Sigh Figh Chen Igh

Chennai, 3672 A.D.

The golden rays of the setting sun made the translucent spires of Chennai Spaceport glisten, causing a brilliant interplay between bright bursts of light and the thousands of black and yellow A.U.T.Os (see glossary) ferrying passengers to and from the spaceport, as Counassegarane stood watching from his high-rise apartment in Trisulam Sector V. I need to get myself a new hypershirt from the local Saravana Gigamart, he thought to himself, as he attempted, in vain, to tune the temperature settings on his 2-year old thermosensitive hypershirt to a comfortable 293 (Kelvin). He had taken the 7.14 FTL coach out of PondicherryΒ  and it had been an enervating day since then. Sipping on his Pansolaric Coffeeblaster, he couldn’t help wonder why the drink was so pricey in Chennai. He didn’t mind it much, as the low cost of P.C in Pondicherry brought the tourists in droves, and that was good for the local economy. The rogue weekend 2-wheel roadcruiser crowd was a bit of a nuisance, but he didn’t mind them much.

He thoughts drifted to the day’s events. Sure, he might be Sambaria’s top Pseudomicrobiologist, with years of experience dealing with dangerous pseudomicrobes, but this was different. It began with Dr. Sastram’s terse “Guna, we have a situation” as he was woken abruptly from his sleep this morning by high priority mentalcast. Not many in this part of the world had mentalcast access, so it was with a pregnant sense of unease that he walked into P.O.I (Pseudomicrobiology Oversight Institute) headquarters on South Mada Hyperavenue, Mylapore Sector II.

We could have an outbreak on our hands, said the good doctor, and we need your help. Guna sighed. Holy Mother of Melmaruvatthur, an outbreak? How did this happen?

Our sensors detected a mild breach in a flat on Devanathan Parkway, but the guard on duty didn’t pay much attention, as minor breaches were all too common nowadays, what with the A.C.L.U (Antipseudomicrobiology Covenant of Liberal Universalists) spreading their vile propaganda on Orkut. But before we could blink our eyes, the minor breach became a catastrophe, with the entire apartment becoming contaminated. We had to send in the S.P.I.T (Secure Pseudomicrobiologists Intervention Taskforce) to take care of the situation, but I suspect we might have been too late. The doctor then explained to Guna, the full scale of the unhholy mess of a situation at hand.

“Can somebody explain to me what exactly is going on here?”

Goddammit. The last thing we wanted. The cops. The M.A.M.A squads (Madras Anti-Miscreant Assault) were a necessary evil in this city. They hardly ever solved any cases, but they did keep the nasty 2-wheel road cruisers in check by fining them constantly for everything from helmet tensile strength to inaccuracies in the insurance coverage amounts at the 4th decimal place.

Let me explain, Guna said.

Haliocentrica Asininus (H.A for short) and Pathotropius Thupuli (Patthu for short) are two of the most deadly pseudomicrobes known to mankind. The most deadly one, Varnus Manusmritus, has fortunately been exterminated from this part of the world. It is still rumoured to exist in the wilder parts of Bovinia (also known as “The Cow Belt”) but we do not have to worry about it here. Coming back to H.A and Patthu, H.A is present in human saliva, and spreads through reckless practices such as Water-bottle-sharing and Joint-Romantic-Sipping. But more dangerously for us, it also has the ability to spread through stainless steel plates. So if the plate you are eating from makes contact with another vessel, contamination occurs, and we have a level-3 minor breach, which is what occurred at 06.51 today morning at Devanathan Parkway. But it didn’t stop there. The perpetrator wasn’t satisfied with just releasing H.A to the unsuspecting world, but he had to unlock the prison doors of its evil cousin, Pathotropius Thupuli. Paathu has a more complex infection pattern. It is generally an inactive pseudopathogen, but comes alive when one or more of the following (not exhaustive) happen

  • Rice is boiled
  • Sambar is prepared
  • Aloo Podimaas is cooked

This is when extreme precaution is required. Patthu has a pathological hunger for non-patthu items, like milk or curd. It is absolutely necessary to detoxify and irradiate any and all items that have come into contact with patthu-containing items. But our perpetrator from the morning could not have done any worse. Here is what he did.

He woke up in the morning, went to the nearby laser barber, had a haircut, and then, without having a bath, raided the fridge, took rice that was boiled yesterday, and with the same hands, poured curd on top of it, and with these very toxic hands, opened the bottle of Maavadu pickle, and horror of horrors, placed all the containers back in the fridge, touching each other!! As an icing on this toxic cake, he then proceeded to Nageswara Rao Sky Garden and had a romantic Joint-Curd-Rice-Eating-From-Same-Plate rendezvous with his girlfriend.

Oh. My. Gawd, exclaimed the cop. Sriharikota. We have a problem.

Glossary

A.U.T.O – Aerial Unmetered Transportation Orbs – Black and yellow Urban public transport vehicles that use a combination of non-linear algebra and chaos theory to determine fare.

FTL Coach – Faster than Light coach

Pansolaric Coffeeblaster – The greatest drink in the Milky way.

Pandegree Coffeeblaster – Available only in Kumbakonam sector, this is the only drink greater than the Pansolaric Coffeeblaster.

Sambaria – Formed in 3392 A.D, when the erstwhile southern states of India (and Sri Lanka) seceded from the rest of the subcontinent to form a country that was entirely filled with Engineering colleges and IT consultants. Originally named Srikartamkeldhra by taking syllables from each of the constituent members, after several died from aneurysms trying to pronounce that name. Eventually, after many years of intense debate, they decided to name the country after the most ubiquitous dish in the region.

49 Comments

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  1. My IQ must be rising sharply nowadays….

    within nanoseconds I figured out that the title was ‘Sci-Fi Chennai” and “Srikartamkeldhra” was Sri Lanka + Karnataka + Tamil Nadu + Kerala + Andhra Pradesh!

    Poor Lakandabar was gobbled up by the gigatsunami, nai?

    P.S: Wonder why Sriharikota was left unnamed? Shouldn’t it have become SISRPS (Sriharikota Inter Stellar Rocket Propulsion Station) :mrgreen:

  2. Yeppa Saami… Bayangara imagination! Too good. I guess u got some inspiration from the kodooramaana germ from Dashavatharam πŸ™‚ I wonder what would happen to Fletcher if he had consumed this bayangara H.A.! Or touched Asin after removing his wig (which constitutes a hair cut as well maybe) Maybe Asin would hv shouted out even more saying “abacharam”…

  3. A great post, as always.

    Simply loved the M.A.M.A. squad funda. Inaccuracies to the 4th decimal place… lol

    And the same with A.U.T.O πŸ˜€

    (a teeny weeny thing: in the second para, “it had been an enervating ever since.”. Isn’t it a typo ?)
    Ashok Yeah. Fixed it now. Thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Brilliant story! What struck me though was that the. perpetrator had curd rice for breakfast AND lunch. A man after my own heart I say.

  5. Hehe, only this morning I did everything that was mentioned and in exactly the same order. Except that, there was no girlfriend for romantic Joint-Curd-Rice-Eating-From-Same-Plate rendezvous!

  6. “Sriharikota, we have a problem!” LOL!

    On the topic, I’d be surprised if the concepts of echchal and paththu didn’t disappear in the next 50 years.

  7. “Holy Mother of Melmaruvatthur” – LOL! I see a heavy HHGTTG influence here! Lovely stuff, as usual – sounds almost like Douglas Adams writing this after staying in Chennai for years.

  8. Ayyo!! Outrageously funny!

    You must be married to one of “them” which is why these diatribes against Brahminism!! (I jest. :))

    And clever title! (Fie instead of Figh?)

    Reminds me of my college days – all hell broke loose whenever I forgot to remove my lunch dabba from my bag before stepping inside the house – which was very frequently. The bag and everything in it got a ritual bath. Books got away with a perfunctory turmeric-water sprinkling. My bedraggled bags were a constant source of amusement in college. ( Leather bags were out of the question anyway. “Siva! Siva! Tholu sanchi!!” Amma would wail. )

  9. Siva, siva .. making fun of echai-patthu :-).
    ROFL. I was waiting for the part, where the couple sprinkled some water on the table, and touched it with left hand .. to remove the patthu. πŸ™‚

    Devanathan parkway and South mada hyperway rocked πŸ™‚

  10. I mustn’t be a true Chennaiite….

    I never “got” even a single joke. EVEN after reading all the comments. Can someone print a “guide”?

  11. May I suggest another drink variation.

    Pansoholic Coffeeblaster – This is a hack of the aforementioned drinks with a potent ingredient added. Known as Irish Coffee circa 1942 AD.

    This has the added advantage of being able to be imbibed in proximity of unsuspecting Paatis .

    ‘Sinn’ing while ‘fein’ing innocence.

  12. So you’re not averse to having typos pointed out?
    A little below that one: “He didn’t mind it much, as the low cost of P.C in Pondicherry bought the tourists in droves … ”
    You mean “brought” right? Even it were intended tongue -in-cheek, the syntax doesnt allow it!
    And then further down: “He thoughts then drifted to the reason.”

    But this is a potent mix: Sci-fi+ humour+Indian culture. A genre attempted successfully only by the great Ghosh in Calcutta Chromosome.
    Ashok: Ah goody. Thanks. Fixed πŸ™‚

  13. Actually, this was inspired by an ex-boss of mine. He used to anyways drink coffee only black and used this method to get his shot of scotch when there were orthodox patties in home. Don’t know whether he did it to fool them or just did not want to drink in an obvous manner.

    I also used to have a neighbor whose favorite was rasam sadham spiked with scotch or whatever available !

  14. Thayir Saadam…!! aargh… can kill me even now… with or without contamination…!!

    Still am in the process of deciphering some parts of the text though…!!

  15. An archaeologist once told me that sambhar was invented by Chatrapathi Sivaji’s brother Sambaji, when out of great hunger, went to the royal kitchen himself and tried to cook daal with all the ingredients at hand! And the dish was named after him…

  16. You’re probably the one responsible for the recent drop in productivity of Tambrahms the world over (and particularly in the Western Hemisphere.)

    A neophyte, today I snorted VERY loudly in a really quiet office looking at your Plog picture of a very lakshanamaana Mona darling.

    You should put a caveat at the beginning of your posts or in the little bar on the right which says “Reading this blog may cause sudden, uncontrollable snorts/ guffaws/ giggles- read at work at your own risk!”

  17. Hi Krish,

    I just came across your blog tooday, and I laughed after a very long time! Incidentally, I belong to Chennai, Mylapore however, I am put up in Hyderabad now. Nevertheless, I visit home very often.

    The best part of this blogs is the M.A.M.A, & A.U.T.O. and also the way you named the South Mada Hyperavenue, Mylapore Sector II & Devanathan parkway.. Too Good. I really enjoyed this post. I will be back for more..

    Kudos to you!

    Cheers,
    Sathiya

  18. “A.U.T.O – Aerial Unmetered Transportation Orbs – Black and yellow Urban public transport vehicles that use a combination of non-linear algebra and chaos theory to determine fare.” Pure genious sir!!!!!!

  19. and a good 1600 odd years hence the govt decides to return to the name Pondicherry from the unceriomonious name change to Puducherry? πŸ˜€
    awesome sci-fi

  20. Have you read Sujatha’s tamil sci-fi. Your writing style reminds me of the fluid effortless humor and brahmin practices interlaced in sci-fi future concepts found in Sujatha’s works. Great blog. Loved it, fwded to several friends !

  21. Truly ‘outta’ the world… hilarious!..

    Thunderous applause!

    I think you are being unfair to ‘non-tamil’ readers .. how on earth are they to understand ‘groundnut putting’, ‘HA’, ‘Patthu’ etc etc… πŸ˜‰

    you really should have separate web pages explaining the significance of those terms..

    and yeah.. agreed… end up taking the charm out of spontaneity though!

  22. ” They hardly ever solved any cases, but they did keep the nasty 2-wheel road cruisers in check by fining them constantly for everything from helmet tensile strength to inaccuracies in the insurance coverage amounts at the 4th decimal place. ” – Kya sense of humour!!

    H.A and Patthu ..ah! u abishtu!! πŸ˜€ .. and M.A.M.A – ROTFL πŸ˜€

    u da topman…keep it up!

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